Ada Icon Sonny Warner Passes Away, 84 - - No One Gets You Closer

Ada Icon Sonny Warner Passes Away, 84


ADA, OK--Pontotoc County icon Sonny Warner passed away this week at the age of 84. To community members young and old, he was the voice heard around Ada.

To those who grew up in Ada, Sonny was a small-town hero in overalls. An ever-present face at the ballpark, and everyone's cheerleader.

"He'd be on the sidelines saying 'Just go get 'em boys!'" said previous football player Russell Bunyard.

Born Lewis Rice Warner to a single mother of eight in 1929, Warner's life was spent in Pontotoc County. Autistic with a speech impediment, he received an eighth grade education from Homer after his mother removed him from school.

Childhood friend Donald Ellis says his disabilities didn't hold him back.

"There was nothing wrong with Sonny's brain, there was nothing wrong with his life," said Ellis. "To sum it up, Sonny was a legend."

A deep love for anything with an engine, you could often find Sonny hitching rides from passers-by to the local car dealerships.

Bunyard recalled his first memory of Sonny. "My dad pulled over to pick this gentleman up, and I said 'Dad, what are you doing?' We weren't used to picking up hitchhikers. And he said 'That is Sonny, son.'"

Bruce Cowart of Ada Ford says Sonny often proved he knew more about the cars than the employees.

"He was so passionate about cars that he just lived it," said Cowart. "He taught us a lot about the models, makes and years."

Most of all, he is remembered for his love of people. The band "Little Texas" even featured Sonny in their "Missing Years" music video.

Although he is gone, residents say Sonny will always stay close to their hearts.

"There will be nobody replacing sonny," said Cowart. "I mean, he was an institution. He was one of the things that made Ada special."

Ellis said: "He could make you feel good when you had your worst days. He did me."

Funeral services will be held at Ada's First Baptist Church at 2 pm on Wednesday. He will be carried in a raised pickup truck for his last ride, just as he would have wanted.

Vision Bank has set up the "Sonny Warner Little League Baseball Memorial Fund"for anyone wanting to make a contribution in his honor. As of yesterday, the City of Ada officially declared October 30th "Sonny Warner Day."